PHOENIX (3TV / CBS 5) – Health officials have raised concerns about a new variant of COVID-19 that is more easily transmissible. The strain B.1.617.2, officially known as the Delta variant, was discovered in Arizona. TGen, a non-profit research laboratory, tracks various COVID-19 strains in our state. Since January 2021, the Delta variant has been identified in 66 sequenced genomes. Although that seems small, health experts said it spreads quickly.
“What we fear is that the Delta variety will also become the dominant variety in the next few months,” said Dr. Natasha Bhuyan, general practitioner.
The Delta variant was first discovered in India in February. Now it accounts for 90% of all cases in the UK. Health experts say it is more contagious and leads to more hospital stays.
“We are seeing this affect younger people and we are seeing an increase in hospital admissions in this younger age group,” said Bhuyan.
Health experts said that all of the US approved COVID-19 vaccines will still work against the Delta variant, but may be a little less effective. Bhuyan said a study shows two doses of the Pfizer vaccine are 88% effective against the Delta variant. However, only one dose provides only 33% protection.
“The bottom line is that getting vaccinated is so important for people. If people are using the mRNA vaccine, they shouldn’t skip the second dose of that vaccine,” said Bhuyan.
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